The beautiful stretch of palm trees that led to the chemist’s shop didn’t look so beautiful today. Their evergreen fronds looked like the open arms of a witch chanting her spells. Nothing was good about today. Not the pap that I took early this morning nor Daniel’s sweaty palm on my arm.
“You will be alright,” Daniel said for the umpteenth time.
I didn’t bother to look at him. His comforting lullaby did little to deflate my fears. My legs trembled as we walked down the snakelike path. Regret rose to my throat. I wished I had listened more to the gospel of Papa’s Bible. I wouldn’t have let Daniel slide my pant off my legs nor allow him lay me on the bed of grass behind Mama’s store. Even as we danced to the drums of ecstasy, I let my heart believe it was love. Look at the sweets and chewing gum that he bought me. It had filled the pocket of my blue gown.
Today, that love has become a sour brew. My black skirt brushed the shrubs along the fence of the chemist’s shop as we went in through the back door. The back door led to a large room with curtains drawn. A high bed sat in the middle of the room. Some long metallic tools, large bowl of water and towels were displayed on the table besides it.
“Remove your pant,” the chemist ordered as he wore his gloves. I let my white pant slid down my trembling legs. A moist milky fluid was painted on its center.
Daniel led me to the table.
“Don’t worry, Nkem, it won’t be painful, Amanze is a professional,” he reassured.
“How certain are you?” I asked.
“You can asked Adaeze and Chiamaka, they will tell you,”
Indeed, I muttered. How many girls have you led to this bed? I wondered as I climbed the bed.
“Spread your legs,” the chemist ordered. His hands pushed my legs apart as his fingers roamed over my vulva as if he was searching for his lost pair of keys. His long spiky metallic tool touched my vagina. It was cold steel, goosebumps spread over my skin. My legs trembled as he pushed the tool into me, my body screamed in pain.
“No, stop,” I screamed and pain flooded my senses. The chemist was going deeper into my body as though burrowing a hole, lines of blood slid down my buttocks to the white bed sheets. I began to kick my legs as I fought to stand up.
“Hold her down tight,” the chemist ordered. Daniel held me down. I was losing strength – their faces became blurry images. My arms fell to my sides. My body stilled.
The chemist paused.
His bloody tool fell from his hand in a loud clatter that shattered the silence of the room. I felt him check my pulse. I heard their muffled whispers. I heard their sounds of their legs as they scrambled for the door.
I tried to rise, my hand missed it’s grip. I slid off the bed and crashed face down on the concrete floor. The blood from my head flowed into the blood dripping from my groin as darkness engulfed me.
By Chioma Ngaikedi